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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:What is the Concept of Globalization Good For? An African Historian's Perspective
Author:Cooper, FrederickISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Africa
international relations
Economics and Trade
History and Exploration
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3518765
Abstract:This article examines the usefulness of 'globalization' as an analytical category, in particular for African history. It argues that what is missing in discussions of globalization today is the historical depth of interconnections and a focus on what the structures and limits of the connecting mechanisms are. In contrasting a present of flows with a past of structures, the concept of globalization misreads the ways in which a 400-year-long process defined both Africa and the Atlantic-centred capitalist economy. Like modernization theory in the 1950s and 1960s, globalization talk is influential - and deeply misleading - for assuming coherence and direction instead of probing causes and processes. The article argues for more modest and more discerning ways of analysing processes that cross borders but are not universal, that constitute long-distance networks and social fields but not on a planetary scale. Notes, ref., sum.